How you behave when being stopped by a cop for any offense, whether it’s speeding, a broken tail light, or for suspicion of driving under the influence, can make or break your case. Cops are humans too, and if you make their jobs easier by cooperating, odds are you’ll be let off easy. If however, you make a cop’s job harder, then you can expect a whole slew of additional charges that could have been avoided, such as a ticket for not wearing your seat belt or for driving with impaired vision if your windshield has a crack in it.
Donahue Law Firm in Bend recommends always cooperating with police. That being said, that is not the same thing as talking the cop’s ear off and divulging information you shouldn’t, like admitting to having had a couple of drinks and driving. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the dos and don’ts of when a cop stops you on suspicion of DUI. In you are being tried for DUI, give our DUI law firm a call. We represent those accused of DUI (driving under the influence) or DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants), as well as other criminal defense cases, such as domestic violence and drug charges. Contact us today for a free consultation!
WHAT TO DO WHEN PULLED OVER ON SUSPICION OF DUI
- Pull over safely. You are being pulled over because the cop has observed erratic driving already. From here on out, everything you say and do can be entered into the police report, which will have a profound effect on your trial and criminal defense. So, Donahue Law Firm in Bend advises you to pull over in a safe area in a safe manner, meaning don’t drift in and out of lines or slam on your brakes. Look for a well-lit area that is off the road if at all possible.
- Stay in your vehicle until told to do otherwise. Try to look at your situation from the viewpoint of the police officer. He or she has no idea what kind of a person you are. They are trained to approach your vehicle very cautiously. Don’t make any sudden movements, and definitely don’t throw any open containers of alcohol out the window (it’s too late for prevention at this point; you are now in defense mode). It’s best to remain inside your vehicle, and wait for the officer to ask for your ID. The worst thing you can do is run. That is an automatic charge of resisting arrest, and it sends a message to a judge and jury that you are guilty of something; otherwise, why would you be running? Also, don’t make physical contact with a police officer. Avoid invading their personal space by getting up in their face and arguing. Stay calm, and the whole DUI situation will pass quicker and smoother.
- Treat the officer as you want to be treated. In all aspects of customer service, the nicer you are, the more likely you are to get your way. The same goes for police officers. They are doing their job of keeping the roadways safe by pulling you over. Donahue Law Firm in Bend advises you to be nice, courteous, and comply with everything that is asked of you. If instead you are belligerent, rude, disrespectful, and angry, you not only will have a very poor police report, but you can face the real possibility of being arrested for resisting arrest, if, for example, you fail to comply with orders. Do the smart thing, and follow orders.
- Do not divulge information that can be used against you in a court of law (which is everything you say). The only questions to have to answer are your name and personal information such as where you live, and the only pieces of information you have to give are your driver’s license and your car insurance information, as well as your registration. That being said, Donahue Law Firm in Bend advises you to never lie to a police officer, which can be damning in a court of law. Instead, politely tell the officer if asked if you’ve been drinking that you can’t answer any of those questions. Most likely, the officer, who has been trained to take advantage of your fear in this situation, will press on. However, don’t give in. You may be arrested because of this as it increases the officer’s suspicion. However, what matters is your day in court, not this moment. If you believe you are way under the legal limit of drinking, you can tell the police officer this; however, it’s up to you to make that call. Do verbally invoke your right to be silent, however, especially if you believe the DUI stop is being recorded. This can be very important if you’re arrested and the police officer begins to badger you for answers.
- Do not consent to a search. Police officers need warrants to search your vehicle, your purse, your backpack, your cell phone, and your person (note this is different than a pat-down where a police officer is checking you for weapons — this is legal any time) unless you give them permission. Again, remember that you are a suspect when you are being pulled over for DUI and the police officer is searching for evidence to use against you. He or she is not looking out for your best interests nor are they your friends. It’s your job to look out for you.
- Refuse a field sobriety test. In the state of Oregon, Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are completely voluntary. However, don’t expect the police officer to tell you that. In fact, police officers are trained to make it seem as if these are mandatory and to make it seem as if they are trying to help you, but don’t be fooled. The whole point of FSTs is to gather evidence against you to have your arrested on suspicion of DUI. Remember, you are a suspect at this point no matter what the smooth-talking officer is telling you. The fact of the matter is is that these FSTs are subjective in nature and almost impossible to perform correctly when you’re not drunk or tired and just want to get home to go to bed. However, Donahue Law Firm in Bend does warn that refusing a FST can result in a suspension of your license; however, that’s better than a conviction of DUI. You do not need to give reasons as to why you are refusing (you have a right to do so). Also remember the more you talk, the more you are giving cops to use against you.
- Refuse a breathalyzer test. Again, you don’t have to take a breathalyzer test. However, Donahue Law Firm in Bend does want to emphasize that refusing a breathalyzer test is a much more serious offense and will almost always result in a suspension of your driver’s license and a hefty fine. Here, you’ll have to use your best judgment when making this decision. If at all possible, ask to call an attorney for 20 minutes. You have the right to privacy at this time. If not, if you’ve never had a DUI before, we recommend to agree to the breathalyzer test. These tests can be inaccurate and debated in a court of law. However, if you’ve had a DUI before, it’s best to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. This will limit the amount of evidence against you if you’re arrested and face a court.
- Take the breath test or a blood test if arrested. Once officially arrested for suspicion of DUI and taken to the police station, you must submit to one of their chemical tests, either a breath test or a blood test. If given the choice, do a breathalyzer test. As mentioned above, these test results are very unreliable and will be easier for your DUI lawyer such as Donahue Law Firm to argue against in court.
- As soon as you can, take notes. The police officer will be filing a police report, which is his or her notes on what happened during your DUI stop and subsequent arrest if applicable. Donahue Law Firm in Bend recommends you do the same. Write down all the details that you can remember about being stopped and being arrested, including where you were at ahead of time, if you had been drinking and if so, how much and what type of alcohol, how long it had been since you were stopped, if you took any FSTs, if you were read your Miranda rights, where you were pulled over, what the officer instructed you to do and how the officer behaved towards you, your conversation with the officer, and how long it had been since you were drinking and when you were given any chemical or FSTs. The more you can give your DUI lawyer, the better. You’ll also want to note what you were wearing. Things like if you were wearing high heels is important for FSTs because it will make it more difficult to perform those tests. Even things like if the moon was out can affect your FSTs due to the amount of light to see by at night. Furthermore, the conversation you have with the police officer will be paramount. You can bet your bottom dollar that your attitude during your DUI stop will be on trial, as well as everything that you said and did (or didn’t do). Hence, be aware of how you were treated by the police officer and what rights were explained (or not). This could become critical at your trial.
- Call Donahue Law Firm in Bend. Once your DUI arrest is said and done, you’ll need a top-notch DUI Lawyer. Donahue Law Firm in Bend has a proven track record of successfully defending those arrested for DUI. As you can see, there’s a lot of variables that play into a DUI arrest, and an excellent DUI lawyer can maximize these and potentially have all of your DUI charges dismissed or significantly reduced. In the state of Oregon, DUI law cases are extremely fact-based, thus making all the facts you can provide all the more valuable. Furthermore, DUI law is some of the most voluminous in the state (all the more reason to hire a stellar DUI law firm such as Donahue Law Firm in Bend), as well as complex. This is good news for you since there are many factors to consider with regards to DUI law.
It’s important to remain calm when pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of a DUI. Limit the information you provide to only what is required, and by all means cooperate with the police officer. You want to put forth the best impression you can, while still being wary of the situation you are in.
HOW DONAHUE LAW FIRM IN BEND CAN HELP WITH DUI CASES AND DUI LAW
Donahue Law Firm in Bend specializes in DUI cases, as well as other criminal defense cases, such as domestic violence, drug charges, and fraud. DUI cases and arrests are serious matters that require a well-thought out line of defense in order to hopefully lessen your charges. We have years of experience and a deep knowledge and understanding of DUI law in the state of Oregon. We have worked with many of the police officers and judges and have good working relationships with them. We also know how to successfully defend you in a court of law, and we will work hard in doing so.
Donahue Law Firm understands the pressure you are under being charged with a DUI, as well as the consequences a DUI conviction can have in your life. Our mission is to help you lessen the charges and move on with your life. We are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your DUI arrest. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here for you. Contact us today for a free DUI consultation!